Friday, October 13

Three Corners

Muslims largely fall into three categories:

  1. The Bynames. Those that think being Muslim is a birthright or even due to ethnicity. They'll do the token religious tasks, like fasting (sometimes), but they probably don't pray regularly and have committed what others (and they themselves) consider to be pretty big sins, like drinking, drooling over women or wearing gel and gold chains. Still, they're usually the most easy going of the three types
  2. The Bybooks. Those that play the religion game by the letter of the law. They'll pray five times a day in a mosque, grow long beards or wear the hijab militantly (but perhaps not at the same time). They won't take on a mortgage unless it's Islamic compliant and only have Muslim friends (but on the bright side, ethnicity doesn't matter to them since as long as you declare the Kalimah, and sometimes you'd even find recently converted Bybooks). They won't listen to music; even nasheeds. In fact, they're so busy following their religion that they're probably neglecting their kids, who will almost certainly grow up to become Bynames.
  3. The Bybrains. Those that mainly choose pragmatism over blind acceptance. They'll reject "traditional" Islamic rule just 'cos it doesn't sound right to them, and think it's more important that women get to choose what they wear than to proscribe something for them. They'll go to parties provided there's a place to pray, free mix and listen to music, Islamic or not. They spend more time thinking than doing, and as a rule tend to annoy Bynames and Bybooks with their complicating of the issue and, sometimes, post-justification.
It's important to see Bybrains not as somewhere between Byname and Bybooks, but as another corner on a triangle of extremes. Of course I'm not quite correct when I say that there are three types; in fact most Muslims fall somewhere between all three types (and if you really know me you'd see that I've used some personal examples in all three categories above).

For example, you can get some people that don't practise (very bynamish), but will only make Muslim friends (very bybookish). Or some people who will try to academically justify that you don't have to pray (a mixture of Byname and Bybrain). And finally, you'll get those who will have proofs of the unprovable (bybrainish Bybooks, or bybookish Bybrains, like the Islam's blatant correctness or of God himself (which, of course, doesn't exist).

As usual, it's all about balance. It's especially the case with religion: there are times when you'll be human and make mistakes (but you'll learn from them), there are times when you have to be a literal and have blind faith (since you can't prove the fundamentals) and if your brain isn't engaged most of the time then there's not much hope for you. Unfortunately, it seems that we're not quite there at the moment; it could even be a reason why the world of Islam is in such a state at the moment.